“I had an amazing childhood. A dope one. Maybe sometimes it was too nice because I didn’t have that many hardships. So when I had to deal with problems later on in life, I thought, ‘What?! This isn’t supposed to happen to me.’ And that’s when I turned to alcohol. I’m originally from Orlando, Florida, but I grew up half in Orlando and half in Tokyo. I was bouncing back and forth, taking some time off from school to take care of family stuff, and kind of just living the third culture kid kind of life. There were some things I felt like I missed out on as a teenager. People watch American movies and they have this image where parents go away for the weekend. It doesn’t happen that much. So when I came to university in Tokyo and I was old enough to do more stuff, I said to myself, ‘That’s it, I’m partying! Balls to the wall!’ I was all in. I tried to experience everything that I thought was denied to me when I was younger. Then I realized it was hard living. So maybe it’s good that I didn’t have access to that when I was a teenager because I probably wouldn’t have graduated high school.

“Now I’m in my 30s and I’m thinking, If I were to meet myself at 18 and 8 years old, would those two versions of me be happy with who I am right now? 18-year-old me had all these hopes and dreams, things I wanted to do before I started drinking heavily. And 8-year-old me was the purest version of me (maybe a little bit selfish). Both had hopes and dreams but 8-year-old was pure and 18-year-old a little jaded. So now I’m trying to live my life in a way that would make those two happy while also making my partner happy. I also want to become financially self-sufficient, either through my band or our business helping children’s development. That’s because I grew up in a really positive and supportive environment and I think that everyone should have that. Unfortunately, not everyone does.”

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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